Wednesday 30 November 2022

A new Black Swan

A Black Swan has arrived on the Round Pond, the first one in the park for some time. It's a big male and quite aggressive ... 

... but a Coot got the better of it.

A pair of Gadwalls fed in the low sunlight.

The widowed female Mute Swan was back on the Long Water, preening on the gravel bank. Somehow she has kept her end of the lake clear of other swans all by herself ...

... but I'm sure the male of the pair in the Italian Garden has designs on her territory.

A Little Grebe crossed the Long Water.

I was expecting this to be the one we've seen recently, but I'm not sure. The previous one was definitely immature, still with faint traces of stripes, and this one looks completely adult and beginning to change into breeding plumage. It could just be the same one growing up quickly, which they do much faster than Great Crested Grebes.

The fallen poplar at the Vista is now mostly inhabited by Black-Headed Gulls, with only a few Cormorants remaining. At the peak of the Cormorant population there were as many as 22 in the tree.

A Grey Heron perched among autumn leaves near the bridge.

More autumn colours: a Jay in a beech behind the Albert Memorial...

... and a Carrion Crow on a notice board beside the Serpentine.

One of the three Coal Tits followed me up the Flower Walk.

The horse chestnut trees which produced new leaves after the drought are still green. A Great Tit caught some tiny creature on a twig.

This pair of Magpies at the Steiner bench are, I think, the parents of the large and unruly family that ranges along the east side of the Long Water.

We've seen this female Great Spotted Woodpecker near the Speke obelisk several times before.

She was leaping around with great vigour.

Afternoon sunshine brought out a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee on the mahonia bush in the Rose Garden. Looking at past pictures, I see that I found one in the same place on 2 January this year.


  1. Quite a boisterous Black Swan. On my recent WeBS counts there's been one on the Thames at Barnes usually with c30 Mute Swans.

    Nice to see the Buff-tailed Bumblebee on the Mahonia. Several visiting mine too.

    1. Buff-Tailed Bumblebees are tough creatures. I think they can warm themselves up by buzzing and keep warm because of being hairy. I read that only young queens survive the winter, but wonder whether it might be otherwise in sheltered places that always have some flowers, such as the Rose Garden.

  2. It's well established now Ralph that there are some over-wintering colonies of Buff-tailed Bumblebees in milder parts of the country-presumably mainly areas with parks & gardens that offer non-native plants that are flowering then. Many of those I see in my garden in mid-winter are workers rather than queens. I think this has been happening for at least 20 years.

    1. Thanks for the information. I had rather suspected this from what I see in the Rose Garden.